Grandma B from Coshocton, OH
Place a sheet of Bounce fabric softener in your shoes overnight so they'll smell great in the morning. (08/20/2004)
Spray heavily inside with Febreze and allow to dry overnight. Works on my stinky old feet (08/28/2004)
By Suzanne S.
Soak them in Tide and spray any soiled areas with Shout and rinse. If that doesn't help then its time to go shoe shopping.
If they are white shoes, try diluted bleach, usually this works really well on grubby stained shoes. (01/20/2005)
Thankfully, years ago, a friend told me she washes all of their good leather "tennis" (athletic) shoes in her washer. I was so afraid to try it but my children's stinky shoes made me desperate. It really works and has never hurt or damaged any shoes in the 30 years I've been doing it.
I always remove the laces, and wash the laces by hand, plus that opens up the shoe more for better washing. I also lift out the insole (if it's removeable...and it usually is) and let it float free in the washer also. My favorite way is to wash one pair with a load of light colored towels. Once the washer is full of soapy water you can take a scrub brush and work on any really dirty areas just using the soapy wash water. Don't use any other cleaner. I once decided to spray a dirty spot with 409 cleaner. The cleaner caused the rubber sole to turn a beige color instead of white! I also don't use any chlorine bleach. Don't wash white shoes with dark items, for example blue jeans. You will likely get streaks of blue on your white shoes)!
I always put the regular amount of liquid fabric softner in the last rinse too. I think it helps condition the leather and keeps it nice. I washed all the "good" brands (Nike, Reebok, Addidas, Converse, etc.) of shoes and never once had a problem. I washed them about once a month and they usually wore them for a year or so. I think washing them actually helped them last longer because perpiration makes the leather rot and crack.
I always air dried the shoes which takes a day or two, but it is well worth it to NOT have STINKY shoes! I never tried this on the cheaper vinyl athletic shoes so I honestly don't know if they could withstand this or not. I found that buying the more expensive shoes (but buying them on clearance a year or more later) was actually cheaper in the long run as they did not wear out nearly as fast as the cheap variety. I hope you will have the courage to try this. It really does eliminate the stinky shoe problem in my house. (02/06/2005)
When my son was in high school athletics, his basketball and track shoes could really smell bad at the end of the day. I used an old pair of pantyhose, cut off both legs and put fresh kitty litter inside the legs. Tie a knot and stick inside the shoe. Much Better! Refresh as needed.(02/21/2005)
Baking soda! It's is the best foot powder our family has ever used. Coming from a long line of stinky feet we tried just about everything we heard of until I heard that a high school coach tried an experiment with different things to rid the gym of the bad odors after basketball practice. The end result was that he placed a bucket of baking soda in the locker room of the gym with a feather duster in it. Each player was to quickly dust under arms, etc. before starting practice. After a time the gym didn't have the strong smell of body odors it used to. I figured if that were true it could rid our shoes of some of that stinky smell too. So, I sprinkled it in all our shoes at night. After a few days I discovered that we were all able to kick off our shoes and sit around in our stocking feet without anyone's nose curling up. We have used this for shoe powder ever since. What I like about it is that it is not expensive and has no perfume or any other smell in it. I also use it in summer as a body powder. It keeps you cooler and absorbs sweat and underarm odors. I sometimes use it in the laundry as well. (02/21/2005)
I take used dryer sheets and fill them with baking soda and close them with a rubber band and place them in the "smelly" shoes. (06/27/2005)
Make a packet of fresh coffee grounds (right from the can) by putting grounds in an envelope or end of panty hose and place inside the shoes. May take a day or more, would help if you seal the shoes and coffee grounds in a plastic bag. (10/31/2005)
By Anna from Maine
Another important word of advise to PREVENT smelly shoes is to own a few pairs you can rotate each day so they have time to air out. Clean socks each day is a must, and dry feet to start with.
Foot powder, baby powder, baking soda, corn starch or whatever...or just give your feet time to dry before putting on socks. (11/18/2005)
Baking soda and white vinegar for sneakers. Pour 1 cup baking soda 1cup vinegar. This will cause a fizzing reaction. Put sneaker in sink and pour mixture into each sneaker insole. Let sit 15 minutes then rinse with warm water and liquid soap. Gets rid of bacteria and the smell. The vinegar smell will go away once dried. (12/01/2005)
My stink is bacterial (as most of the foot funks out there are) using cornstarch based things just gets them all excited. I would suggest a good washing with disinfectant soap for your feet. for the shoes I have found only 2 solutions, (though freezing with baking soda paste is not something I have tried)
1. Bowling shoe disinfectant, it actually will kill the bacteria, make sure you thuroughly dampen your sneakers with the stuff and let it dry, Brunswick makes a good one.
2. Lysol, (not the foaming kind) this is a kill all disinfectant, It worked great for me, however while the can says it kills athletes foot fungus, (not of particular interest for the stinkiness) it does not encourage using it on clothing.
Anyway, sBuff like bounce, kitty litter, cornestarch, baby powder, and every foot powder I have tried, have been conqured by my offensive afluvian microbes. Moreover some actually combine with the stench to create a special super funk, I swear you can see the stink lines wafting out of my sneakers, really bad stuff. (03/29/2006)
By shoe shiner
To prevent smelly shoes, prevent smelly feet. Soak your feet in plain cold tea. Get a dishpan and box of tea bags from the dollar store. Use hot tap water and about 6 bags to make a dishpan full. Let cool, and soak clean bare feet for 15 minutes each night. This will stop feet from smelling bad, and thus shoes as well. (04/01/2006)
Baking soda - easy, cheap and it works. Sprinkle a little less than a teaspoon into each shoe before wearing them and odor will be gone. I do this regularly with almost all of my shoes. Works beautifully. (04/15/2006)
Wash and dry your feet and then apply "surgical" spirits in between your toes and all over your feet, it is a miracle, it really works, you can also just pour a little bit into a leather shoe and slide your foot on top of it, I have tried everything and this is the only thing that has ever worked. (05/21/2006)
By m hope
Most tennis shoes can be washed in the washing machine. I've always done it with new and used shoes. It won't hurt the shoes. Put shoes in the washer with hot water and detergent and old towels or rags and let sit overnite. Wash in the morning and dry in the sun or on top of the dryer. Clean and fresh. (08/07/2006)
I have always used warm water with great results. Tide has always been my detergent of choice. I try others occasionally but always go back to Tide! I use about 1/4 to 1/3 of the amount they recommend unless the load of clothes is exceptionally dirty. If there is a stain I just rub a little full strength Tide on the spot and scrub a little before putting it in the machine. Folks who have hard water may need to use more detergent than I do. (09/17/2006)
By Grandma Margie
My ex-husband had the stinkiest shoes ever when I first married him. (You could smell his shoes over 5 feet away when he wore them!) We tried everything. We had great success with those fancy odorless socks, but they cost to much.
I read somewhere that if your feet smell to wear only white socks because white socks don't have dye in them, & the dyes cause your feet to sweat & smell. So we bought all white socks & every time I washed them, I added bleach to the wash. This worked miracles. I also washed his tennis shoes in the same load (with bleach). His feet & shoes never smelled again! Bleaching his socks really worked. What a change! If for some reason, you don't want to buy all white socks & bleach them. At least wear the bleached white socks as much as possible. You'll be very happy with this solution! Bleach kills the bacteria & helps you avoid getting athletes foot & other not so nice foot infections. Bleach, doesn't cover up the smell, it kills the bacteria that causes the smell.
Other ideas that could help:
To de-smell the shoes you have: First start by washing them (& add bleach if you can as this disinfects and immediately cuts out the odor). If you can't wash the shoes, sprinkle in baking soda. You can either wear them with the baking soda in them, or shake out most of the baking soda before putting your shoes on. You can also buy a pair of Dr Scholl's charcoal foot pad inserts.
If this doesn't work, take 2 tiny cups, lids or any small containers that will fit in your shoes, fill each container with straight white vinegar. Leave undisturbed at least 24 hours. The white vinegar will take the odor out (the vinegar works for taking musty odors out of dresser drawers or cabinets as well)
You can also take cut up nylon stockings filled with new cat liter & hang them in your closet, or stuff a sock or nylon filled with new cat litter in your shoes. This helps to take out odor and mildew. The cat litter is super absorbent. Cat litter in nylons works great for keeping your car trunk dry and must free too!
One more hint: With 6 in our household & each having many white socks. I simply bought 6 different colored permanent pens & marked a small dot or line on the toe of each white sock when new so each would know what sock was theirs. (09/18/2006)
Odor in shoes comes from the mixture of bacteria and the sweat of feet. To prevent NEW shoes from getting smelly you have to wash your feet with soap and water, dry them, then rub them with rubbing alcohol, wait until alcohol evaporates, then put on socks and shoes. You cannot go around walking barefoot or with the socks on because you will pick up bacteria from the floor and the shoes will get smelly.
Another way is to prevent sweat in your feet with a product called Drysol but this needs prescription by a doctor.
By Dr Bou
Wear socks. That's my lesson learned.
If you want to get the smell out of your shoes than you should put baking soda in the shoe and then put it in the freezer over night. It works alot better than any of those sprays for shoes. (02/20/2007)
Thanks people! Right now I'm trying the kitty litter trick. I tried shampooing them, filling them with mint leaves and hot stones. Don't do vinegar my mom did it to my shoes to get the mud smell out and it made them stink worse! (05/11/2007)
By Crazy Lulani
I have found that washing our smelling fingy infected shoes with peroxide works very well. If you think about it you use peroxide on any cuts and sores so why not try it on fungi. I did and it works very well. Mainly all you do is put one cup of peroxide per pair of shoes in the wash once a week. Next after you get out of the bath have a mixture of peroxide and water in a spray bottle to spray on feet each night. Hey peroxide kills just about any germs I even use it to clean my floors, countertops, bathroom, teeth, any where that has odor or any place that food touches. It really works. (06/01/2007)
Contrary to popular belief, freezing the shoes will not kill the bacteria (unless you are able to flash-freeze the shoes). Freezing only retards the growth of bacteria and will likely just slow the bacterial reproduction during the stay in the freezer. This might help to fight the smell for the next day as the shoe "airs out" in the freezer, but as soon as the temperature warms up again, the bacteria will go back to making your shoes smell. Unless you've got a 'fridge to devote to your shoes, I would suggest looking for a lasting solution. (06/05/2007)
By Cornell Undergrad
If you use tea, I have found that black tea works the best. My 2 year old has the stinkiest feet. My mom recommended black tea and boy did it work great. My little guy just loves standing in a bucket of luke warm tea. If it's luke warm it is also soothing. I do the tea thing once a week on top of regular bath time. I did soak shoes in it also and it worked. (06/20/2007)
If the person who owns the shoes always wears white socks & you always bleach the socks when you wash them you'll never have a problem with stinky shoes again!
Really! This works every time, of course it does help if you first start out with either clean or new shoes... but even if you don't, just bleaching your socks will make all the difference. The bleach disinfects the socks & kills the smell-causing germs & helps get rid of athletes foot too!
*** Bleaching does shorten the life of the socks... so it helps to buy quality socks. But compared with the price of those fancy "non-stink" or "charcoal" socks...
Bleaching is a down right cheap way to go!
*** The reason you wear white socks is because the dyes in the socks make you feet sweat more because there's often a reaction to the dyes, and also, because you can only bleach light color socks.
I swear this works! (my ex-husband had shoes that smelled so bad, you could smell them from across the room... No kidding!... we tried EVERYTHING! & by just simply bleaching his socks during EVERY wash, the smell was gone FOREVER!... No muss, no fuss! (06/20/2007)
At the shoe repair place I used to go to, I asked about smelly shoes. The person there told me to get newspaper, and put it inside the shoes. "Nothing will work permanently", I was told. Tried it for a couple days, turning it or replacing it. It seems to help absorb the moisture. I live in Hawaii, and that's just not a good place to have feet in shoes all the time.
I also inquired about why some shoes smell worse than others. I was told that it depends on the dyeing process. Some dyes or the process makes the shoes more prone to smelling bad. I guess it's like how some laundry detergent makes me smell like I have bad B.O.
I have many pairs of Cole Haan shoes that are near 20 years old, and they don't smell, but those that have padding, or "man made uppers" which absorb the sweat tend to go bad in a short time. I've learned to not buy those, and just stick with full leather. I actually spend less money and time on maintenance. (07/06/2007)
I have kids very active in sports, so had a garage filled with stinky equipment and shoes. I was introduced to a volcanic mineral that absorbs both smell and moisture. I repackaged the mineral into a more user friendly pouch and for the past year, I have been in business. The products are Diva Diamondz for womens shoes, Gentlemen Gems for mens shoes, and Sportzgemz for sports equipment. It works! Best of all it is completely renewable and reusable. Place the pouches in the offending footwear and leave. The smell is gone overnight, or in a few days if the shoes are older. When the pouches begin to smell - about 6 months - simply place them in the sun. So far we haven't found a smell this product won't remove (even skunk). If you google the products or just add ".com" at the end, you will find the products. (10/09/2007)
One remedy I heard was to get odor absorbing cat litter, and put some in an old sock and put that sock in the shoe and leave it overnight. (11/22/2007)
I have a husband and 3 kids with horrific smelly sneakers. I just toss all the family sneakers in a large load in the top-loading washer with hot water and a generous amount of bleach. Run the load and viola fresh and clean smelling sneakers. For the more soiled sneakers I'll spray Shout and pour half a cup of bleach generously on the surface and inside (color-safe bleach). Works great for grass stains, mud stains, egg toss (and broken), and general dirty socks/feet.
My daughter hates to wear socks with her sneakers making them extremely unbearable, I wash her sneakers once a month and it holds up pretty well.
I also spray Lysol disinfectant liberally inside all the family shoes. This helps on a daily basis. (12/28/2007)
If you're like me, you walk around barefoot all the time! However, stinky shoes are a problem and people say walking barefoot, or in just socks, allows you to pick up the bacteria that causes the smelly feet/shoes. I don't want to wear shoes all the time, so (u)I wipe my feet with an anti-bacterial wipe(/u) before I put on my new socks and shoes. That way the bacteria doesn't stink up the shoe. (12/31/2007)
If you have stinky feet, try a zinc supplement for a month and see if your smell disappears. After 30+ years of super stinky feet, I tried this and it's just gone... as long as I remember my zinc supplement. After about 2 weeks of no supplement, it will come back. (01/24/2008)
Take a dryer sheet (like Bounce!) and put it in your shoe over night. A used one will do just fine. Guaranteed, the smell will be gone. (01/31/2008)
I was so disappointed when my favorite pair of Puma sneakers got so offensively pungent that I simply couldn't wear them anywhere. (I had worn them all summer on the beach with no socks, so it was my own fault.) I bought odor-eater sprays that just seemed to tint the stink with a baby powder flavor. I then found the solution - I tore out the old insoles, doused the entire shoe, inside and out, with (b)Anti-microbial Febreze(/b), let them dry, and then inserted a new pair of Dr. Scholl's athletic insoles. Not only were my shoes now more comfortable, but the stink was 100% GONE. I now wear them all the time. It's been about 3 months and the stink hasn't come back yet. Of course, I haven't worn them without socks again, but probably will this coming summer. At least now I know what to do when they get offensive again. Hope this helps someone with a similar problem who doesn't want to go through the messy hassle of dealing with baking powder, oils, or alcohol. (03/02/2008)
Just leave them in a plastic bag and put baby powder in them to make em smell good then leave them over night. (05/19/2008)
By girlly girl
Any anti bacterial spray works. I use that, then throw the shoes in the dryer for a little while. (06/17/2008)
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